Friday 20 April 2018

Car enthusiast who led gardai on a high-speed chase put 'terrifying' number of people at risk - courts

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A car-obsessed man who led gardai on a high-speed chase through a residential Dublin area put a “terrifying” number of people at risk, a judge has said.

Mark Davis, who has over 200 previous convictions mostly relating to road traffic offences, led gardaí on a ten-minute pursuit through Tallaght, driving at speeds of up to 100 km/h and nearly colliding with a Luas tram, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today / yesterday (WEDS).

Davis (27) with an address at Kilmartin Drive in Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving in relation to the incident on March 27, 2015.

Garda David Jennings told the court that he was on patrol when he spotted Davis reversing at high-speed out of a cul-de-sac in Tallaght shortly after 4pm.

Gardaí initiated a pursuit, during which Davis frequently crossed on to the wrong side of the road and broke several red traffic lights, forcing several cars to brake to avoid colliding with him, Gda Jennings said.

He also broke a red light and crossed in front of a Luas tram, forcing it to brake suddenly. Throughout the pursuit, Davis drove at speeds of between 80 km/hr and 100 km/hr in the 50 km/hr zone, the court heard.

Gda Jennings said he decided to end the pursuit after 10 minutes as it was too dangerous.

“It was Friday evening and traffic was heavy,” he said, adding there were a lot of children playing on the roads at the time. Gda Jennings said he recognised Davis – who was known to gardaí - during the pursuit and he was eventually arrested when he presented himself to a garda station.

He has 207 previous convictions, including 20 dangerous driving convictions, 21 convictions for failing to show a licence and five convictions for driving whilst disqualified.

The court heard Davis is currently serving a prison sentence in relation to a similar offence.

Sarah Jane O'Callaghan, BL, defending, told the court that Davis “panicked” when he saw gardaí, as he had no insurance, no driving licence and no NCT cert for the car.

Ms O'Callaghan said Davis was an introvert who was “obsessed with cars”. She said Davis “placed himself under house arrest” after he got involved with a gang feud following a row involving his ex-girlfriend.

“He got caught up in a gang and this placed him under extreme stress,” Ms O'Callaghan said.

Judge Melanie Greally said the incident was “terrifying in terms of how many people were placed at risk”.

“Luas passengers, children, drivers – a full range of road users were exposed to extreme danger,” she said.

She adjourned the matter for sentencing on November 10.

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